Ford this week unveiled its new Ranger pickup truck at the Bangkok Motor Show. Company bosses are hoping the redesigned model will help boost sales in Europe, which Ford claims increased 40 per cent in 2014 over 2013, with market share rising by 4.5 percentage points to 21 per cent.
“Together with the completely new and expanded Transit range, Ranger is a key part of Ford’s renewed commercial vehicle line-up that continues to gain sales momentum in Europe,” said Ford’s European marketing boss, Roelant de Waard.
The changes to the Ranger begin with an updated exterior design. A reshaped hood flows into a new trapezoidal grille, while projector headlamps give the truck a more “technical look” say the designers.
“When you look at how our customers use their vehicles, it’s important that a Ranger looks and functions as a tough, dependable tool,” said Dave Dewitt, exterior design manager of Ford Asia Pacific. “We saw an opportunity to give the design extra tension, and to emphasise ‘Built Ford Tough’ design elements like the outboard nostrils – all while maintaining the Ranger’s excellent aerodynamic characteristics.”
The updated exterior has been combined with a new interior designed to be more “car-like” for both the driver and passengers. Horizontal lines run across the width of the cab, framing the central eight-inch touchscreen. Behind the steering wheel, there is also a new instrument cluster design with dual colour digital displays.
In terms of real-world driving capabilities, Ford says the pickup has the ability to wade through water up to 800 mm deep, helped by 230 mm of ground clearance. The truck also features a 28-degree approach angle and 25-degree departure angle.
An electronically controlled transfer case allows drivers in 4×4 models to shift from 4×2 to 4×4 high with a knob on the centre console. For low-speed torque or additional downhill braking, drivers also can engage low-range 4×4 gearing, while an electronic locking rear differential is said to help improve traction in difficult conditions. Towing capability is claimed to be up to 3,500 kg.
Ford engineers say the addition of electric power assisted steering has also resulted in a quieter vehicle and improved fuel efficiency by about 3 per cent.
Some of the new Ranger’s driver assist technologies include Lane Keeping Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Park Assist, as well as Hill Launch Assist and Hill Descent Control.
Power is derived from a range of three diesel engines paired to either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
For maximum power and torque for heavy-duty towing, Ford is offering the latest generation of its 3.2-litre TDCi five-cylinder diesel engine. Upgrades include a revised exhaust gas recirculation system for better efficiency, while power output is claimed to be 197 bhp and 347 lb-ft of torque.
Generating 128 bhp and 158 bhp, the other two units are variants of Ford’s latest 2.2-litre TDCi four-cylinder diesel engine.
Ford says Auto-Start-Stop technology combined with the availability of longer final drive ratios has reduced fuel consumption by as much as 15 per cent on certain models.
The new Ranger will be offered in more than 180 markets worldwide, and will be available in Europe from early 2016.